Associations between Physical Activity, Physical Self-Esteem, and Psychological Well-Being

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This study examined associations between physical activity, physical self-esteem and psychological well-being among American college students. Participants were 238 students (139 females, 99 males; M = 23.1, SD = .49 years of age) enrolled in physical activity classes from a comprehensive university located in Southern California. Participants completed demographic questions, the Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire (GLTEQ; Godin & Shephard, 1985), the Physical Self-Description Questionnaire (PSDQ; Marsh, Richards, Johnson, Roche, & Tremayne, 1994) and a 20-item version of the General Well-Being (10 items each for psychological distress, PD and psychological well-being; PWB) from the Mental Health Inventory (MHI; Heubeck & Neil, 2000). Participants were categorized by gender and physical activity groups by three levels (i.e., never, sometimes, and often participate in physical activity) to examine the association of psychological well-being, physical activity, and physical self. Result showed significant gender differences on most variables (except health, body fat, and psychological distress), with vigorous physical activity group reporting more positive and higher physical self-perception and psychological well-being compared with low and physically inactive groups. Collectively, results of this study support previous research findings that have shown gender differences and physical and psychological benefits of regular physical activity. Despite the practical implications associated with the current findings, several limitations were also discussed for interpreting the results and planning future research with the physical activity, physical self-perception and general well-being.


Keywords: Physical Self-Perception, Mental Health, Physical Activity
Stream: Psychology, Cognitive Science and Behavioural Sciences
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Associations between Physical Activity, Physical Self-Esteem, and Psychological Well-Being


Sang Tae Kim

Instructor, Department of Physical Education
College of Physical Education, Hanyang University

Seoul, South Korea

Dr. Sang-Tae Kim received his Ph.D. from the Department of Physical Education at Hanyang University. His special interest is in the field of mental health and physical activity.

Ref: I08P0960